Companies race to court to beat time limit on credit crunch cases

THE NUMBER of big ticket commercial disputes being taken to the High Court in London has jumped by 23 per cent in the last year, as companies race to beat the six-year time limit for launching credit crunch-related claims.

Analysis of court claims by City law firm RPC showed there were 1,393 cases launched in the Commercial Court, part of London’s High Court, in the year to 30 September 2013, up from 1,131 in the same period in the previous year.

Geraldine Elliott, RPC’s head of commercial litigation, said, “Companies which had disputes arising from the aftermath of this seismic event are now running up against the six-year limitation period for launching claims, and may be making a last-ditch attempt to recover losses.”

The number of cases has been further increased by the trend for oligarchs to use London courts.

Recent examples include a $2bn High Court battle between three Ukrainian tycoons over shares in a former state-owned iron ore company.

Elliott said wealthy foreign litigants were attracted by “the maturity of the London legal system and the independence of our judiciary” as well as the UK’s powers to freeze assets.